“We should all try to live as kindly and gently as Alvy did.”
Thursday night, downtown Ashevegas said goodbye to Alvy Alvarez, the gentle spirit at Gold Hill Espresso and Fine Teas who took his own life last week. A large crowd of mourners filled the Orange Peel for Alvy’s send off.
As I’ve noted in earlier posts, Alvy’s death shocked this town and its coffee shop denizens. If any of you doesn’t believe depression is an illness, look at Alvy. He was beloved. Yet that love wasn’t enough to save him.
Alvy’s father, brother, sister and friends put on a brave face and reached for a fun-loving memorial, but it turned more somber than most had wanted. And why not? Alvy was such a giving person, and too young to die at 30-something. It was hard to say goodbye.
“I will never forget you. I wish I would have eased your pain, my friend … I know what it feels like to hurt, to want to escape. We will see you again, and it won’t be in this painful place.”
Alvy’s family spoke. They told of a loving Tampa, Fla., home. Friends told their stories of him. On a table with printed programs and a bowlfull of tiny necklace beads that Alvy had fashioned, several different 5X7 photos of the darkly handsome man smiled back. People were encouraged to take a bead. I picked a couple out. At home, I studied them again and noticed one had a partial Alvy fingerprint. I think I’m lucky.
There was music on stage and dozens of Alvy’s friends lingered outside afterward to share a cigarette and a story and a hug.
“I don’t understand what you did, but I have to believe that, like the Jedi you are, that you will return even stronger.”
In one corner, a mini-bulletin board was set up. There was pen and paper for anyone to write a remembrance and tack it up. I read the messages for a long time.
“I’m off like a prom dress.” -Alvy
Category: Asheville News